If I’ve been with a company for 16 years and now my hours are being changed to ones that I can’t work, can I be fired?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If I’ve been with a company for 16 years and now my hours are being changed to ones that I can’t work, can I be fired?

For 14 years, I’ve been working 6:30-2:30 pm. Now they want me to work 8-4 pm. I have a part-time job that starts at 3:30 pm, and I also care for my twin 15 month old nephews. Can they change my hours legally?

Asked on November 11, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your company has an absolute right to change your hours at will (unless you have a written employment contract specifying your hours; if so, they have to honor the terms of your contract): employers, not employees, control employee hours, unfortunately. If you cannot or will not work the hours your employer wants you to work, you can be terminated; worse, you could potentially be fired "for cause," for not following employee directions or instructions, and therefore be denied unemployment compensation.

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